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Dorothy Elizabeth Denning (born August 12, 1945) is a US-American information security researcher who is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She has published four books and 140 articles. At Georgetown University, she was the Patricia and Patrick Callahan Family Professor of computer science and director of the Georgetown Institute of Information Assurance. She is now a professor in the Department of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School.



Denning, assisted by Peter G. Neumann, published a model of an IDS in 1986 that formed the basis for many systems today. Her model used statistics for anomaly detection, and resulted in an early IDS at SRI International named the Intrusion Detection Expert System (IDES), which ran on Sun workstations and could consider both user and network level data. IDES had a dual approach with a rule-based Expert System to detect known types of intrusions plus a statistical anomaly detection component based on profiles of users, host systems, and target systems. It was suggested that adding an artificial neural network as a third component. Denning said all three components could then report to a resolver. SRI followed IDES in 1993 with the Next-generation Intrusion Detection Expert System (NIDES). The Multics intrusion detection and alerting system (MIDAS), an expert system using P-BEST and Lisp, was developed in 1988 based on the work of Denning and Neumann.[1]

Denning has received several awards. Among them are the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award, National Computer Systems Security Award, and the 2004 Harold F. Tipton Award "in recognition of her outstanding information security career". In 1995 she was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.[2]

Denning privately reviewed, at federal request, the Skipjack block cipher, as part of the controversial Clipper chip initiative, put forth by the NSA for encryption of private communications. In Congressional testimony, she stated that general publication of the algorithm would enable someone to build a hardware or software product that used SKIPJACK without escrowing keys.[3] In public forums, such as the Usenet forum comp.risks, she defended this program.[4] Denning also served as a witness in the 1990 trial of United States v. Riggs. Her testimony was instrumental in leading the government to drop charges against defendant Craig Neidorf.[citation needed]


Dorothy Denning is the daughter of C. Lowell and Helen Watson Robling. In 1974 she married Peter J. Denning, currently the Chairman of the Computer Science Department at the Naval Postgraduate School.[5]


  • Denning, Dorothy Elizabeth Robling (1982). Cryptography and Data Security. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-10150-5. 
  • Denning, Dorothy Elizabeth Robling (1990). Concerning Hackers Who Break into Computer Systems. presented at the 13th National Computer Security Conference, Washington, D.C. Digital Equipment Systems Research Center. 
  • Denning, Dorothy Elizabeth Robling; Lin, Herbert S. (1994). Rights and responsibilities of participants in networked communities. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-05090-6. 
  • Denning, Dorothy E. (1999). Information Warfare and Security. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 0-201-43303-6. 


  1. ^ Excerpted from Intrusion detection
  2. ^ "ACM Fellows Award: Dorothy Denning". The Association for Computing Machinery. 1995. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  3. ^ Brickell, Ernest F.; Denning, Dorothy E.; Kent, Stephen T.; Maher, David P.; Tuchman, Walter (1993-07-28). "SKIPJACK Review": 8.  |contribution= ignored (help).
  4. ^ Denning, Dorothy (1994-02-09). "Re: Campaign and Petition Against Clipper". The Risks Digest, Volume 15, Issue 48. The Risks Digest. Retrieved 2015-01-28. 
  5. ^ "Computer Science Department Faculty". Naval Postgraduate School - Computer Science Department Faculty. U.S. Navy. Jan 26, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-28. 

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